Receiving timely emergency dental treatment can make the difference between saving and losing your tooth. Dental emergencies are far more common than you may think, so having your dentist’s contact details readily available at all times is always a good idea. Most dentists go out of their way to schedule in emergency dental procedures.
What Constitutes A Dental Emergency?
It’s important to know that not every dental problem is considered an emergency. You may need to see a dentist as soon as possible for a toothache, chipped tooth, or sensitive teeth but these are not always considered emergencies. In general, if you can wait a day or two to get your dental issue treated, it’s not an emergency.
It is only an emergency if treatment is required immediately to stop further complications from developing. For example, you may require emergency dental treatment to stop bleeding or if you’re in unbearable pain and can’t wait.
Signs That You May Require Emergency Dental Treatment
Call your dentist immediately and describe the problem if you experience any of the following:
Excruciating tooth pain – A severe, unexplained toothache that comes on suddenly requires immediate attention. It could be the sign of an underlying problem such as exposed nerves or infection. These will only get worse if treatment is delayed. While a mild toothache can wait a day or two, a severe toothache warrants an immediate call to your dentist.
Bleeding or swollen gums – Occasional bleeding from the gums is not a cause for concern. However, if your gums are bleeding excessively, it could be due to an underlying oral issue or an infection and requires an emergency dental visit. The sooner you get the problem treated, the better the prognosis.
Tooth abscess – A tooth abscess is not just painful, it can also be potentially life-threatening. It is commonly accompanied by a fever, tender lymph nodes, persistent toothache, and tooth sensitivity. If treatment is delayed, the infection can spread to the surrounding tissue and the jaw. In extreme cases, it can spread through the blood to other areas of the body.
Bleeding from the mouth – Persistent bleeding from the mouth for no apparent reason is a definite sign of an emergency. Your dentist will be able to identify the problem and prescribe the proper course of action.
Knocked-out tooth – If you suffer trauma to the mouth for any reason, such as a fall or sport, you may lose a tooth. In this case, time is of the essence. The sooner you can get to your dentist, the better the chances of saving your tooth. Pick up the broken tooth taking care not to touch the root. Rinse it gently, place it in a small plastic bag or container of milk and take it to the dentist as quickly as possible. Your dentist may be able to reinsert and restore your tooth.
Swollen mouth or jaw – Unexplainable swelling and tenderness in the mouth and jaw could be caused by infected or irritated lymph nodes. Timely treatment is vital to prevent the infection from getting worse or spreading.
Broken crown – A broken crown leaves vulnerable parts of your tooth exposed, increasing the risk of infection. The tooth may then require an extraction, root canal treatment or other extensive corrective procedures. Scheduling an emergency dental visit can help you avoid potential complications that may be caused by a broken crown.
While proactive oral care can prevent most emergencies, not all dental problems can be prevented. If you experience any of the above, call your dentist right away to schedule an emergency dental appointment.
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